Why Did Ras Al Khaimah’s Coast Water Turned Red?

Why Did Ras Al Khaimah's Coast Water Turned Red?

Fishermen in Ras Al Khaimah have reported expanses of red water nearly eight to 12 miles off the emirate’s coast.

The Environmental Protection Authority said that the reported ‘red patches’ have no negative impact on marine life.

“The red tide phenomenon appears twice a year, and had no negative impact on the marine environment.”

The red tide, known as algae blooms, first appeared in the UAE regional waters in 2008, and the ministry of Environment and Water; now Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, warned against swimming, fishing, or collecting dead fishes in affected areas.

The satellite images collected showed some biological activity in the waters close to the country’s regional waters. Information sent by the UAE Coast Guards reported “red patches” in the same areas.

The ministry, in its report, explained that it dispatched a team of specialists to monitor and collect samples of water from different areas of the Arabian Gulf off RAK’s coast.

Dr Saif Al Ghais, Director General of the Environment protection and Development Authority, RAK, said the so-called red tide detected was a kind of bacteria.

“They normally appear and reproduce at the same time every year, changing the colour of the water.

“However, it does not have any negative impact on marine life, and does not disrupt the work of water desalination plants,” he said.

Dr Ghais added that the red tides are mostly caused by natural occurrences due to the rapid growth of phytoplankton and that there were limited scientific solutions to the phenomenon.

“Algae blooms reduce the amount of oxygen in the water and greatly affects the marine environment, including fish dying. Certain types of algae can also produce dangerous toxins. They occur under certain conditions, such as when large amounts of sunlight combine with increased nutrients from effluent water.”

The red tide appeared in RAK early in September, 2008, and spread along most of the country’s coasts – Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and parts of Dubai. It appeared again in February, 2009, and spread across the country’s waters. It destroyed large amounts of fish and marine creatures, and affected fishing in the affected areas.

Al Ghais said the coastal water along the red tide coasts is characterized by moderate concentration of oxygen ranging from 4.5-5 mg/l, and the salinity ratio ranges between 39-40 per cent.

“However, toxicity tests showed that there are no toxic kinds of phytoplankton that cause red tide. Dead fish or other marine organisms were not found. The red tide was probably caused by climate changes and accompanying phenomenon,” he said.

Related Articles